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Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013

Monkeys on Trial

'Inherit the Wind' at Sunset Playhouse

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In 1925, high school teacher John Scopes was found guilty of illegally teaching evolution in a Tennessee public school. The verdict was later overturned on a technicality, but not before attracting the kind of attention that is the inspiration for drama on stage and screen with Inherit the Wind. The ever-topical drama gets its latest local staging this month courtesy of Elm Grove’s Sunset Playhouse.

Brian Zelinski directs the drama with a well-balanced cast. Sean Duncan plays the John Scopes character Bertram Cates, a schoolteacher in the small town of Hillsboro, Tenn., who has dared to teach evolution in a public school. His defense is handled by a Clarence Darrow analog named Henry Drummond, played here by the quietly intense UW-Milwaukee theater alumnus Michael Pocaro. The lanky and charismatic Matthew J. Patten plays the H.L. Mencken-like journalist covering the trial. Also of note here is Randall T. Anderson as the prosecuting attorney. One of the more under-used stage talents in Milwaukee, Anderson should anchor the courtroom drama quite well in the role. Aiding him is Paul Troglia in the role of the Matthew Harrison Brady character, based on William Jennings Bryan.

Sunset Playhouse’s production of Inherit the Wind runs Oct. 24-Nov. 10 at the Furlan Auditorium, 800 Elm Grove Road. For ticket reservations, call 262-782-4430 or visit sunsetplayhouse.com.

 

Theater Happenings

Malcolm Muggeridge was a leftist BBC reporter in Stalin’s Russia who, unlike his sycophantic colleagues, told the truth about what he witnessed. Years later he met Mother Teresa, representing a belief system opposite to Stalinism. Acacia Theatre Company will perform Cathal Gallagher’s Malcolm and Teresa through Oct. 27 at Concordia University’s Todd Wehr Auditorium, 12800 N. Lake Shore Drive, Mequon. For tickets, call 414-744-5995.

The traveling experimental piece 500 Clown Frankenstein has a group of clowns embarking on the rather daunting project of constructing Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory. The production comes to the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (90115th Ave) on Saturday, Oct. 26. For tickets, call 414-766-5049 or visit southmilwaukeepac.org.

Local puppeteers Angry Young Men Ltd. return to the Oriental Theatre this Halloween for another performance of The Night of the Living Dead Puppet Show. The sophisticated parody of George A. Romero’s classic starts at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31. Reservations can be made at tickets.landmarktheatres.com.
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